Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

Started May 6, 2012 | Discussions
Cyril Catt Veteran Member • Posts: 4,673
Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

Can the iPad's default touchscreen keyboard be replaced with a more conventional one, with a shift key to access numerals and punctuation?
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Cyril

Halibut Regular Member • Posts: 391
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

Apple's own bluetooth keyboard works very well for me.
http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipad/ipad_accessories/keyboards

seeblue Senior Member • Posts: 1,652
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

That's how I roll. I even pair the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard with my iPhone sometimes.

OP Cyril Catt Veteran Member • Posts: 4,673
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

Thanks Halibut and seeblue, a bluetooth keyboard works fine at home.

But carrying a keyboard when travelling tends to negate the portability of the iPad. There are so many apps that allow the iPad to imitate all sorts of other devices, I would have thought an alternative to the default keyboard would also be a possibility.
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Cyril

Jen Yates Senior Member • Posts: 1,414
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

It's not possible for an app to replace the default iOS keyboard. Which is a good thing as if it was possible there would be huge compatibility or usability issues (I'm an iOS developer... I know about such things)

You can use the built in software keyboard in six different configurations.

You can use a bluetooth keyboard. (I use a stowaway Sierra which is full size but folds to 1/4 of that)
You can use a wired USB keyboard (With the CCK)

That's choice enough for most, but of course not everyone. Apple doesn't try and please everyone (as it's not possible) so they go with a comprehensive set of options which you pretty much have to learn to live with.

OP Cyril Catt Veteran Member • Posts: 4,673
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

Thank you Jen, for the advice. However I do not know how to access what you say are six different keyboard ‘configurations’. I see only three possible software keyboard layouts and 12 possible hardware keyboard layouts stated in the Settings menus, none of which appear to make any major changes in the number or size of the keys, and none of which adopt anything close to the configuration of my desktop Apple computer’s keyboard.

Whilst deferring to your knowledge of the iOS, as the iPad’s screen can imitate a piano, a guitar, a percussion set, a chessboard, a slide rule, several different calculators, etc, and convey the correct signals from touches to relevant software in order to initiate appropriate responses from the speaker or from the screen display, I am surprised that an app cannot be written to usurp the default keyboard, remap the screen to represent a different keyboard layout, and send appropriate signals to those apps which accept keyboard inputs.
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Cyril

apcrcom New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
1

Jen Yates wrote:

It's not possible for an app to replace the default iOS keyboard. Which is a good thing as if it was possible there would be huge compatibility or usability issues (I'm an iOS developer... I know about such things)

Wow, thats an interesting 'expert' opinion.

An IOS developer who has apparently never used Android, which has about a squillion keyboard replacement apps available without any "huge compatibility or usability issues"

The fact is that IOS is just locked down in this regard. Nothing to do with do-ability. Its completely do-able from an infrastructure standpoint. Just Apple dont allow it.

James C. Murray Senior Member • Posts: 2,043
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

I have the Logitech Bluetooth. Keyboard that clips over the iPad screen. The result is a slightly thicker iPad otherwise it is the same dimension. The keyboard has its own battery nd has a slot that holds the iPad in an upright position, actually slightly leaning back.

I'm sure their site w ill have it. I think it works very well.

Chuck Eklund Contributing Member • Posts: 606
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

James C. Murray wrote:

I have the Logitech Bluetooth. Keyboard that clips over the iPad screen. The result is a slightly thicker iPad otherwise it is the same dimension. The keyboard has its own battery nd has a slot that holds the iPad in an upright position, actually slightly leaning back.

I'm sure their site w ill have it. I think it works very well.

Ditto on the Logitech Bluetooth. Not too much bigger than the standard iPad cover. Once I developed a routine for keeping charged it was very convenient.

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seeblue Senior Member • Posts: 1,652
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

Also, try dictation.  I suspect hardly anyone knows it's there and nobody uses it, but it works quite well once you get the hang of it.

Jen Yates Senior Member • Posts: 1,414
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

An IOS developer who has apparently never used Android, which has about a squillion keyboard replacement apps available without any "huge compatibility or usability issues"

There's a squillion different replacements available and you claim there's no usability issues? And that applies to everyone right?

So you end up with a squillion different devices all running a squillion different keyboards. Excessive choice does not guarantee a better user experience.

Alpha Doug Veteran Member • Posts: 9,222
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

Ditto dictation.  It really does work quite well.  But there are other options.  First, I would look at iPad cases that have built in keyboards.  Most of them protect the iPad better than the simple clip on cases, and there are a few that have VERY thin and light keyboards included.  Not only that, they allow your to prop up your iPad on your lap or stomach or on a table or chair arm easily.  And it really does not add all that much bulk or weight.  Also, I read about a company that makes a little "clip on" device that "projects" a virtual keyboard on a flat surface in front of the iPad.  Don't know how it works, but it's an option.

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Mikedigi Forum Pro • Posts: 10,629
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

This is just to second Cyril's question and his feeling that Apple should not restrict commonsense iPad users to such a tedious task as using an onscreen keyboard requiring jumping between 3 (?) screens just to type an average sentence. Equally irritating when entering a password which, we are told, should contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and maybe symbols these days.

The suggestions that add-on hardware is a solution are well-meaning, but the question was about virtual keyboards, which do not add size, weight or cost (though I would happily pay extra for a virtual full keyboard).

There are bad things in both Windows and iOS, but some things encountered by Windows users converting to e.g. an iPad Air are frustrating and anti-logical. Like being unable to close an app without first clicking twice on the mechanical Home button - I often have to do this by having a finger behind and the thumb in front, otherwise the iPad capsizes off its typical stand.

Ah, I hear you shout, "You need a more stable stand . . . " = correct a software ineptitude with more hardware, again.

So the answer to Cyril's question appears to be "No", but the answer to this and other problems is for more users to tell Apple without undue politeness what they think about them.

In the case in point, I would rather have a full virtual onscreen keyboard with smaller digits than the present joke. I would be happy to use a stylus, like on my smartphone, if my fingers were too clumsy.

Mike

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gaussian blur Veteran Member • Posts: 5,459
Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

Mikedigi wrote:

The suggestions that add-on hardware is a solution are well-meaning, but the question was about virtual keyboards, which do not add size, weight or cost (though I would happily pay extra for a virtual full keyboard).

Check the App Store.

There are bad things in both Windows and iOS, but some things encountered by Windows users converting to e.g. an iPad Air are frustrating and anti-logical. Like being unable to close an app without first clicking twice on the mechanical Home button - I often have to do this by having a finger behind and the thumb in front, otherwise the iPad capsizes off its typical stand.

There is no need to manually quit an app. The system manages that for you. The list of apps you see by double-clicking the home button is a recently used list, not a currently running list. Most of them have long been quit automatically.

In the case in point, I would rather have a full virtual onscreen keyboard with smaller digits than the present joke. I would be happy to use a stylus, like on my smartphone, if my fingers were too clumsy.

Third party onscreen keyboards and styluses are available.

Mikedigi Forum Pro • Posts: 10,629
Virtual keyboards

gaussian blur wrote:

Mikedigi wrote:

The suggestions that add-on hardware is a solution are well-meaning, but the question was about virtual keyboards, which do not add size, weight or cost (though I would happily pay extra for a virtual full keyboard).

Check the App Store.

There are bad things in both Windows and iOS, but some things encountered by Windows users converting to e.g. an iPad Air are frustrating and anti-logical. Like being unable to close an app without first clicking twice on the mechanical Home button - I often have to do this by having a finger behind and the thumb in front, otherwise the iPad capsizes off its typical stand.

There is no need to manually quit an app. The system manages that for you. The list of apps you see by double-clicking the home button is a recently used list, not a currently running list. Most of them have long been quit automatically.

In the case in point, I would rather have a full virtual onscreen keyboard with smaller digits than the present joke. I would be happy to use a stylus, like on my smartphone, if my fingers were too clumsy.

Third party onscreen keyboards and styluses are available.

Many thanks, all these comments are very helpful. I shall follow them all up.

Do you use the pre-installed virtual keyboard,or a different one? Or putting it another way, is there one that you can recommend?

Mike

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gaussian blur Veteran Member • Posts: 5,459
Re: Virtual keyboards

Mikedigi wrote:

Do you use the pre-installed virtual keyboard,or a different one? Or putting it another way, is there one that you can recommend?

I use the standard keyboard so I can't recommend anything.

Here's a list of what was available last fall. There may be more by now.
http://www.macrumors.com/2014/09/17/third-party-keyboards-now-available/

Mikedigi Forum Pro • Posts: 10,629
Re: Virtual keyboards

Thanks, I'll look at that.

Mike

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Mikedigi Forum Pro • Posts: 10,629
Re: Virtual keyboards

I have followed up that link and the keyboards listed are all about "intelligent predictive" gimmicks, not about a simple on-screen QWERTY keyboard that simply types what I type, using one screen only.

I have now asked the question on Apple Support Communities, together with my son who is adam100670.

Mike

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Kendall Helmstetter Gelner Forum Pro • Posts: 20,072
What do you mean by that?

Mikedigi wrote:

I have followed up that link and the keyboards listed are all about "intelligent predictive" gimmicks, not about a simple on-screen QWERTY keyboard that simply types what I type, using one screen only.

Can you describe in more detail what you mean?  I really cannot picture what you are saying here, that is not the standard keyboard...

Do you mean an on-screen keyboard that has more symbols visible at one time, on the main screen?

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Mikedigi Forum Pro • Posts: 10,629
Re: What do you mean by that?

Thanks - simply a FULL qwerty keyboard like I use with My Wndows PC. Not having to switch between screens to get numbers, symbols, etc.

Obviously the keys would have to be smaller, but would not be too small to use for most people.

mike

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